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Spiritual

Dying to Live

Provicence United Holy Church
Posted by Rev. Nathaniel B. Bullock on Sunday, September 4, 2011

Scripture: Romans 6:1-7
This letter was written by a man who was at one time a persecutor of the church. His name was Saul, and after his conversion, his name was changed to Paul. This letter was not written to the church at large, but to a targeted group of Jews and Gentiles, the church at Rome.

This communication was not to deal with some immediate trouble or threatening danger as was many of his other letters. But Romans is viewed at Paul's own theological position on an array of topics which includes the subject of this sermon.

  1. Paul is having as it were, a Q & A session in which he asks some very serious and thought provoking questions. Maybe someone came to him with news that the church was struggling with these matters. Maybe his writing was part of a teaching series in which he maintained his pastoral care and teaching of church. In any case, the question is asked, "How can we who have died in sin still live in sin?" In Gal. 2:20, Paul says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me". What was Paul saying? Crucifixion involved torture and a long drawn out and painful death. We know that Paul was not nailed to the cross, but Christ took upon Himself Paul's sin and when they nailed Christ to that cross, they also nailed Paul's sin to the cross.
  2. So Paul is now dead to sin. We have now a dead Christ and a spiritually dead Paul. But wait! Something else happened - Christ was raised from the grave and with Him, spiritual Paul. Paul was now a new creation. The old has done away with, and Paul is walking a newness of life. This is what baptism symbolizes, dying to sin and doing away with it, and starting life all over, brand new. The first man, Adam, willed us away from God by his disobedience. His sin was passed on to us, but we were willed back to God by Jesus who was OBEDIENT to the glory of God. So now we can not in good conscience continue in sin. The Holy Spirit would not let us have peace of mind but would convict us of sin. Verse 6 and 7 says, "For we know that our self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin - because anyone who has died had been freed from sin".
  3. We find then three truths:
    1. It is a terrible thing to make the mercy of God an excuse for sinning. One must not tempt God. You may not like his response.
    2. The man who starts out on this way of life is committing to a different kind of life. He has in fact died to one kind of life and reborn to another way.
    3. When a person starts out on the straight and narrow way, there is a real identification with Christ. Without Christ being in us, we cannot live in fellowship with God. Christ died for us, let us live for Him, for he is alive for evermore. Amen.

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